Ethnic Perceptions Towards Cosmetics Study Cultural Studies Essay

Cosmetic merchandises play an indispensable function in everyone 's life: they range from makeup, skin care and aromas, to personal hygiene such as shampoos and soaps. The decorative market is driven by invention as they invariably add new characteristics to their existing merchandises and it is a extremely competitory market where more pick, greater efficaciousness and better consequences are expected by clients. Harmonizing to Weber and Capitant de villeborne ( ) , the decorative industry represented 166.2 billion dollars in 2000 and western Europe was the major market with a sum of 49.

6 billion dollars.

In the current globalised universe where the demographics of Western states change, cultural groups are deriving an increasing acknowledgment in the selling and concern scene and reacting to their demands and wants look to be the cardinal factor to success. ( Holland and Gentry,1999 ) . It is peculiarly true in the decorative industry. For illustration, the universe 's greatest company, L'Oreal has efficaciously chosen its spokespeople who are `` adult females and work forces of all ages, expressions and beginnings, beginnings of inspiration for our coevals '' ( L'Oreal Paris ) .

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Indeed, their famous persons are Gallic, English, American, German, Spanish, Mexican, Indian, African American, Nipponese and Arabic. They are all well-known and have a great influence on the clients as they embodied the symbols of beauty in their several cultural belonging. What is more, L'Oreal has acquired Softsheen-Carson, a trade name reserved for African-Caribbean ethnics or Yue sai, a skin care trade name that responds to the specificities of the Chinese tegument. However, the decorative scene is non merely represented by International groups such as L'Oreal or Procter and Gamble, but besides sees the outgrowth of smaller trade names that specifically target the cultural consumer.

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This peculiar pattern to aim a peculiar group of clients that have been segmented by racial, cultural, lingual or faith standards is known as cultural selling. This method originates from the United States and has been successfully implemented in states that possess a high cultural diverseness such as Great Britain, Germany or the Netherlands. ( Ammy.c )

France has one of the highest in-migration figures in Europe, estimated to stand for 8.1 % ( 4.9 million ) of the entire dwellers. ( INSEE 2004-2005 ) . It is estimated by the same beginning that in 2008, 3,1 million of French-born aged between 18 and 50 have at least one immigrant parent. North Africans represent the major portion of the cultural population in France and they are estimated to be about more than a million ( INSEE ) . Indeed after World War II and its wake on economic system, Gallic had no other pick than engaging workers from former settlements in North Africa ( Meng and Meurs, 2009 ) . Statisticss based on race or beginnings are prohibited by the Gallic jurisprudence and INSEE is the merely authorized administration that provides simple demographic figures. It is, hence, hard to give an accurate per centum of each cultural group every bit good at picturing cultural people from the 3rd or 4th coevalss. The chief ground for the limitation is that such patterns may look to be at the border of racism and in entire denial of the chief rule of the French democracy which is that all citizens are every bit treated without differentiation of beginning, race or faith ( The Economist ) . The Gallic president, Nicolas Sarkosy, suggested the thought of presenting cultural statistics in 2009 and had been hurt by public discontent. 100,000 signatures had been collected on line by the anti-racism administration, `` SOS racism '' , in their run against this type of informations entering ( The Economist ) . Therefore, it appears that being recognised and segmented by ethnicity in France is hurt by obstructions and barriers on one manus due to the authorities and on the other, due to the population sadness when the effort to separate cultural groups has been made ) .As a consequence, it may look that Gallic North African want to be considered as entirely portion of the Gallic civilization and do non desire to be classified as a peculiar cultural group. However, the actuality besides shows the antonym, where the Algerian cultural population demonstrated higher celebrations for the making of Algeria in the World Cup than for the Gallic squad ( The Independent, 2009 ) . It may uncover that their feeling of belonging to an cultural group is stronger.

Purpose: The purpose of the thesis is to analyze the strength of cultural individuality among Gallic North-African and separate their perceptual experiences of the decorative market and influences during the purchasing procedure of hair attention merchandises.


To derive a general apprehension of the chief factors which influence the consumer behavior.

To place the motives towards the ingestions of cosmetics.

To analyze how the cultural adult females perceive themselves in footings of cosmetics ingestion.

Research inquiries:

Make French-North African adult females see themselves as portion of a peculiar group when devouring merchandises?

Do they be given to devour cultural merchandise merely, which are supposed to outdo suit their demands? And why/why non?

Do they be given to a peculiar decorative trade name?

Proposed literature hunt

Brief lineation of the research methods chosen

The execution of a qualitative method is preferred to carry on this research. Indeed, it appears that questionnaires, observation and concentrate group may react efficaciously to the research inquiries mentioned supra. There is no better manner of analyzing consumer behavior than detecting and inquiring clients in individual. For illustration, observation may give a good position of the influencing factors of a product/brand pick during the purchasing procedure.

In order to obtain a better mentality, mail questionnaires will be sent to 500 French-North African. Furthermore, decorative beams in assorted stores in Marseille, best known town for its high concentration of North African, will be observed.

Literature reappraisal:

In order to get down an in-depth analysis of the perceptual experiences and attitudes of the French-North African towards the decorative market, it is aboriginal to obtain a better comprehension of the cardinal countries involved in this research. The purpose of this subdivision is therefore, to reexamine the assorted surveies that have been made antecedently. This literature reappraisal will supply, foremost an overview of the principal grounds which push persons to devour cosmetics, analyzing the influence of the ego construct on the consumer behavior and the impact of the images conveyed by the industry. Second, the impression of ethnicity will be identified exhaustively giving chief definitions and foregrounding its complexness when nowadays in a multicultural environment.

. Cosmetic industry and the psychological images conveyed

self-concept and societal comparing

The inclination to concentrate on image flexible joints on a construct called `` self-concept '' . The Self construct is a common attack taking at investigates the relationship between consumers ' perceptual experiences of themselves and their behaviors in the purchase procedure ( Loudon and Della Bitta,2002:309 ) . Onkvisit and Shaw ( 1987 ) acknowledged self-concept as `` the person as perceived by that person in a socially determined frame of mention '' . In other words, consumers ' physical insecurities shape their ingestion wonts. Harmonizing to the same beginning, the self image of a consumer influences dramatically the purchase of an object. Therefore, adult females tend to purchase cosmetics to foreground or conceal some facet of their `` selves `` in order to make the outlooks driven by society. Cash and Cash, mentioned in Guthrie et Al ( 2007 ) , underline that ego assurance and confidence among adult females increase when they are have oning makeup which create a kind of day-to-day dependance on cosmetics.

The self-concept alludes to the feeling a consumer has of her/himself. Harmonizing to Amanda Austen, journalist for BBC, more than three in four adult females are insecure about their physical visual aspects and one in three adult females feel overweighed when looking at cosmetics advertizements ( 2006 ) . Salomon et Al ( 2002 ) mentioned that a survey among female pupils has underlined the inclination to compare themselves with theoretical accounts and to demo low self-prides after seeing advertizements. This thought of low self-pride is besides acknowledged by Pentina et Al ( 2009 ) . Indeed, they mentioned that low-self regard and insecurities are caused by `` ideal '' organic structures or faces advertised in media. They add that the beauty industry normally represent the human organic structure as an `` object '' that may be modified and improved in order to look presentable in the society. They endeavour to demo images stand foring the most beautiful and perfect theoretical accounts and promise consumers to make this flawlessness thanks to its merchandises. This type of communicating may hold a important impact on consumers ' self-pride as they tend to compare themselves to the ideal image depicted in the advertizements. This type of comparing is known as societal comparing and as Pentina et Al ( 2009 ) pertinently suggest, societal comparing is influential in the adult female 's desire to alter her visual aspect. Onkvisit.S.and Shaw ( 1987 ) add that the self-image of a individual is created from a relation between her interior self-perception and her ain appraisal of people 's judgements. Furthermore, Phau and Lo ( 2004 ) finish the subject of societal comparing by claiming that people possess more than one and alone self-concept as it is created from the interaction with society and external elements and evidently, people are thin to alter their societal surroundings throughout their lives.

Hence, the chief schemes of the decorative industry is to play with the consumer 's sensitivity to belie their organic structure image by demoing intimations of insecurities in their advertisement, making a spread between the existent and the ideal physical ego. Therefore, consumers feel the desire to buy decorative merchandises to contract that spread because as underlined by Pentina et Al ( 2009 ) , the disagreement between existent and ideal ego by and large leads to `` dissatisfaction, letdown or shame '' .

ego and merchandise congruity

As the ego construct is formed by the reflected ego, in other words how people perceive themselves and how they presume other see them, external visual aspect plays a major function. For case, a new make-up technique or a better hair manner may be easier to be noticed. Therefore, it implies that non merely people contribute to find the sensed ego but besides merchandises. Runyan ( 1988 ) cited in Phau and Lo ( 2004 ) states that consumers may be influenced to purchase merchandises that are extremely seeable to public as a manner to show and attest their egos to others. In that state of affairs, these external merchandises act as symbols to reenforce or make an individuality, organizing `` the drawn-out ego '' . ( Salomon et al. 2002:194 ; Phau and Lo 2004 )

Merchandises non merely enable the consumer to model his self-identity but seem to be acquired because they correspond to his/her `` self '' . This is identified as the Image Congruence construct ( Graeff, 1996 ) . The impression of congruity between the usage of a specific merchandise and the ego individuality tends to be accurate. A research stated in Salomon and Della Bitta ( 2002:195 ) reveals that auto proprietors had the inclination to believe that their autos are associated with their personalities: '' a driver of a clean Pontiac theoretical account saw themselves as more active and flashier than did Volkswagen drivers `` . More focussed on the decorative subject, Craik ( 1993 ) cited in Ghuthrie et Al ( 2007 ) stated that `` purchasing cosmetics is a procedure of fiting the properties of merchandises with the ideal ego '' .

This thought of congruity is besides present between the ego and a specific trade name, phenomenon besides known as trade name personality. Brand personality is `` the properties, positions and positions consumers hold towards a trade name '' ( Onkvisit and Shaw, 1987 ) . Harmonizing to the same beginning, sellers strive to efficaciously advertised a possible correlativity between the trade name and precise images that would touch the consumer ' ego. Undeniably, Consumers are believed to prefer a trade name which is thought to be similar and in harmoniousness with their self-concepts. ( Onkvisit and Shaw ( 1987 ) ; Malhotra ( 1981, 1988 ) ; Sirgy ( 1982 ) cited in Kim,2000 ; Guthrie et Al 2007 ) .As Loudon and Della Bitta ( ) underlined, `` The greater the brand/self-image congruity, the more a trade name will be preferred '' . Congruence is, therefore, determiner for the purchase. What is interesting is that the success of a merchandise or trade name is normally due to the images they carry instead than their existent propernesss and public presentation. ( Aaker ( 1991 ) ; Pettijohn et Al ( 1992 ) ; Triplett ( 1994 ) all cited in Graeff, 1996 )

Ethnicity and perceptual experiences


Specifying ethnicity appears to be complex. Indeed, writers tend to give diverse definitions of this term.

First, it is normally acknowledged that cultural individuality relies on common and shared values such as civilization, race, linguistic communication, past history, faith or patterns but besides corporate names, solidarity and linkage with a fatherland. ( Riggings ( 1992 ) cited in Holland and Gentry 1999 ; Forney ( 1981 ) cited in Chattaraman and Lennon 2007 ; Jamal 2001 ; Bouchet ( 1995 ) cited in Usunier and Lee,2009 ) .

However, others consider ethnicity as unreal in other words as a construct which has been built and created. This thought is known as `` bricolage '' ( Bouchet ( 1995 ) cited in Jamal, 2001 ) or `` innovation of ethnicity '' ( Conzen et al ( 1992 ) cited in Holland and Gentry, 1999 ) . Therefore, in this definition, ethnicity is, harmonizing to the latter, a creative activity `` which incorporates, adapts and amplifies preexistent communal solidarities, cultural properties and historical memories '' .

This 2nd definition leads to a 3rd definition which is that cultural individuality is instead inscribed in a procedure of `` self designation '' . It means that ethnicity chiefly depends on the person 's self-concept and on the strength of acknowledgment in belonging to a certain group. ( Ching and Fisher ( 1999 ) ; Deshpande et Al ( 1986 ) ; Donthu and Cherian ( 1994 ) ; Forney and Rabolt ( 1985 ) ; Hirschman ( 1981 ) ; Kim and Arthur ( 2003 ) ; Laroche et Al. ( 1998 ) ; Phinney ( 1992 ) ; Webster ( 1992 ) ; Xu et Al. ( 2004 ) all cited in Chattaraman and Lennon,2007 ) . Therefore, in this instance, the impression of ethnicity is more a psychological construct created in the person 's head based on his ain perceptual experiences, cognition and emotions ( Cuellar et Al. ( 1997 ) ; Tajfel, ( 1981 ) than a biological or familial individuality as Aaker ( 1999 ) tended to demonstrated. ( All cited in Jamal ( 2001 ) . Harmonizing to the same beginning, ethnicity becomes an individuality that may be easy chosen and adopted and Acts of the Apostless like a typical label or a piece of vesture ( Barth ( 1969 ) ; Rossita and Chan ( 1998 ) ; Tajfel ( 1981 ) ; Oswald ( 1999 ) as cited in Jamal, 2001 ) .Their cultural individuality become, therefore, a label or a garment aiming at showing themselves to the populace ( Bonne et al,2007 ) .

Ethnicity and SELF-IDENTITY IN host states

Immigration has allowed assorted ethnics to populate into the same state. The purpose of this paper is non to supply an in depth analysis of in-migration. What is at the bosom of this research is to understand whether the cultural individuality of an person may or may non change when life in host states.

The construct of ethnicity may be affected by life in host states. Harmonizing to Holland and Gentry ( 1999 ) , immigrants every bit good as the 3rd and 4th coevals posterities are yet, in pursuit for ethnicity and cultural traditions, nevertheless, they are seting their values to the ideals of the chief watercourse civilization. This procedure is known as cultural assimilation. Gordon ( 1978:169 ) defined this as a `` Change of cultural forms to those of the host society '' . Consequently, it seems that these persons are accommodating to their mainstream civilization, therefore, abdicating partially at certain past values. This thought is strengthened by Usunier and Lee ( 2009:82 ) who mentioned that the procedure of assimilation is good rooted in the values of the 3rd or 4th coevals of immigrants and they may portion more similarities with the host civilization instead than with their cultural civilization.

Berry and co-workers ' 1987 socialization theoretical account cited in Usunier and Lee ( 2009:81 ) demonstrated that cultural group may hold 4th reactions in the host state. First is the Assimilation procedure as merely explained, nevertheless their definition of assimilation differ from the old 1s. Indeed they assume that assimilation is an version of the chief civilization but they believe that it involves a entire rupture with their place civilization. Second is Integration which involves deriving the rules of the host civilization while maintaining their civilization at the same clip. A 3rd reaction would be a complete Separation from the host civilization and the saving of their civilization and in conclusion, a procedure of Marginalisation which implies a refusal of both host and place civilization. Despite one positive factor which is the integrating procedure, one may foretell that cultural individuality may be dramatically weakened by populating in a host state.

However, Jamal ( 2001 ) high spots that people may hold assorted and cohabitating individualities. He besides mentioned a really interesting survey made by Oswald ( 1999 ) , which reveals that the pronoun `` I `` may hold different significance and waies, including cultural designation, race, category or nationality. Here, the impression of multiple egos in one person is reinforced and persons populating in host states may experience being portion of their cultural groups while being portion of their chief watercourse groups at the same clip. This sense of belonging to the host civilization may be given to be amplified when going in another state. This thought reinforces the procedure of Integration in the Berry and co-workers ' socialization theoretical account.

Ethnicity and perceptual experience in a selling position

One may see that the perceptual experiences of minority groups ( cultural groups ) are different than those of the chief civilization as values are poles apart. Therefore, divergency of values has a attendant impact on the perceptual experiences of merchandises. For illustration, Pankhania et Al ( 2007 ) show that advertisement, pricing, distribution, merchandise characteristics are the countries in which cultural civilizations and host civilization are more likely to show divergency if they are non compatible with their ain values such as nakedness or sexual intensions in advertizements or merchandise characteristics which are excessively pretentious. Sellers need to be cognizant when lucubrating these schemes as it may take to a incorrect placement of the merchandise and therefore, an economical failure.

Furthermore, sellers need to detect whether they perceive themselves as portion of an cultural group or as portion of the chief watercourse civilization. It is a deciding procedure as it guarantees the success or failure of their merchandises ' place. Indeed, as Chattaraman and Lennon ( 2007 ) claim, that cultural designation has enormous influences on ingestion and trade name trueness. They add that if the cultural designation is strong, persons are likely to devour ethnic-related merchandises, dresss and amusement and tend to demo trueness to trade names used and recommended by their relations. As a affair of fact, one may say that the strongest cultural individuality is, the more the single uses cultural merchandises and oppositely, the weaker cultural individuality is, the more the single utilizations merchandises which are non entirely targeted to his cultural group.

However, as mentioned in the portion above, ethnics populating in host states may hold the inclination to develop multiple egos due to the biculturalism environment they are portion of. Therefore, persons are likely to move otherwise harmonizing to assorted state of affairss or the individuals they are with ( Aaker ( 1999 ) , Markus and Kunda ( 1986 ) ; Markus and Nurius ( 1986 ) all cited in Jamal, 2001 ) . As a Consequence, biculturalism is a existent challenge for sellers because they do non cognize if and at what point cultural people form different perceptual experiences than people from the chief watercourse civilization ( Pankhania et al, 2007 ) . The same beginning, interestingly points out that values and perceptual experiences of merchandises are different between the cultural group and the host state and are besides different between their states of beginnings and them. It leads to the hypotheses that Gallic North African group may hold different perceptual experiences and values than the Gallic Caucasic people and besides, will be different from the civilization in North Africa. This thought good underlines the impact of biculturalism and assimilation on cultural individuality.

To reason, the literature reappraisal has recognised that self-concept has a major influence on the perceptual experiences of people in footings of how they perceive themselves and how they perceive a trade name, a merchandise and a market. Self-concept is influenced by societal comparing which normally triggers low ego regard. Therefore, cosmetics are bought as a manner to heighten the person 's self-concept and make an ideal ego. Furthermore, trade names and merchandises are consumed to attest the persons ' egos publically and move as symbols that create or reinforce an individuality.

In this regard, self-concept dramas an of import function in the building of ethnicity. Indeed, ethnicity has been acknowledged as being innate but the literature has shown that ethnicity is besides and majorly built on person 's self designation. A individual belongs ( or non ) to an cultural group every bit long as he claims so. The set of literature has drawn the attending on the complexness of specifying the construct of ethnicity in persons when life in host states. Surely, the strength of belonging to a peculiar group may be weakened by the socialization procedure. As shown antecedently, persons may wholly or partly reject their place civilization or make a new `` civilization '' mixed of host and place civilization elements. However, as persons tend to construct their egos on social environment, it is extremely possible that they have developed multiple egos accommodating to the chief watercourse civilization and their cultural group when needed as they live in a bicultural society.

As self-concept is influential on ingestion and forges the cultural individuality, it is clear that the strength of cultural belonging besides impacts on perceptual experiences and therefore on merchandises pick. The challenge here is to spot whether Gallic North-African consider themselves as portion of an cultural group or every bit portion as the chief watercourse civilization when purchasing cosmetics. This reply will be deciding so, to place their influences during the purchasing procedure of cosmetics and their picks towards a peculiar merchandise and trade name.


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Gordon, M. ( 1978 ) . Human Nature, Class, and Ethnicity. New York: Oxford University Press.

Updated: May 19, 2021

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Ethnic Perceptions Towards Cosmetics Study Cultural Studies Essay essay
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